Illinois lawmakers are seeking to potentially ban the sale and possession of assault weapons in the state with the sweeping “Protecting Illinois Communities Act,” otherwise known as HB 5855, and committee hearings on the legislation began on Monday.
Currently, seven states have laws in place that ban assault weapons at least to some degree, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.
Rep. Bob Morgan, who was an eyewitness to the tragic shooting during the Fourth of July parade in suburban Highland Park earlier this year, is the bill’s lead sponsor.
That shooting left seven people dead and at least 48 others injured, and continued to fuel discussions about gun reform nationwide.
The bill covers a wide variety of topics, but its notable features include an increase in the state’s minimum age to purchase or own a gun, as well as a total ban on assault weapons, extended magazines and other items.
Here’s a breakdown of the legislation, which could come up for a vote in January’s lame session.
Prohibits assault weapons and extended magazines
The legislation would make it illegal to manufacture, deliver, sell, or purchase any assault weapon in the state of Illinois. It would also make it illegal to possess such a weapon 300 days after the bill is finally passed.
A full list of weapons classified as “assault weapons” can be found in the text of the bill.
The bill also makes it illegal to possess, purchase or possess .50 caliber rifles and cartridges, but there is language in the bill that allows owners who currently own such weapons to keep them.
People who already own weapons that fall under the definition of “assault weapons” must register those weapons with the Illinois State Police between 80 and 300 days after the bill is finally passed into law. A $25 fee will also be assessed.
Additionally, residents do not buy or own magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds, and the bill also prohibits the sale or purchase of “switches”, which can increase the rate of fire of a armed.
These switches are technically already banned under federal law.
Raises the legal age of possession of firearms from 18 to 21
The bill also contains a provision that raises the minimum age to own a firearm from 18 to 21.
There are exceptions in the bill for the use or possession of weapons by persons under the age of 21. Active members of the Illinois Army or National Guard can still own guns, as can people employed by the federal government and must carry guns. as part of their responsibilities.
Persons under the age of 21 who wish to hunt must do so under the supervision of an adult, and that adult must also have a FOID card.
Allows prosecutors to seek revocation of gun possession from those who trigger ‘red flag’ laws
While an individual could potentially be required to turn over weapons or prohibited from buying or possessing weapons, under the state’s “red flag” laws, prosecutors can now act as “friends of the court” in these processes.
Previously, only family members or law enforcement officers could use “red flag” laws to compel renewal or prevent the sale of weapons.
In its current form, the ‘Red Flag’ law allows family members or law enforcement officers to petition the courts to temporarily remove firearms from people who pose a danger to themselves or others. .
Currently, these restraining orders can last six months, but the bill would extend that period to 12 months.
‘Red flag’ laws have come under scrutiny in the wake of the Highland Park shooting as the alleged shooter was able to purchase multiple guns despite threats of violence against his family and also threatened to to harm one’s self.
The suspect’s father signed a document allowing him to buy weapons, and law enforcement did not move to revoke his weapons.